Smugglers’ threat looms large as Khaptad opens for grazing

- BHAWANI BHATTA, Khaptad

May 17, 2016-

Every year, starting mid-May till mid-July, the highland pastures inside Khaptad National Park become grazing grounds for cattle that are brought from Doti, Achham, Bajhang and Bajura districts. With the park opening its doors for cattle herders and their animals comes the risk of wildlife and rare herb smugglers. 

It is during this three-month grazing season, the park authority needs to remain consistently alert against those trying to smuggle wildlife and precious herbs, says Ramchandra Khatiwada, the park’s chief conservation officer. 

“It is during this period the smugglers become active. We have to be extremely watchful,” said Khatiwada.

Last season, the park authority arrested two persons for attempting to smuggle herbs. The duo had entered the park posing as cattle herders. 

Khaptad is famous for herbs like Satuwa, Panchaule, Ganalu, Padamchalnu, Kudki, Jhau and Chiraito. It is also home to various bird and animal species.  

Park officials say overgrazing inside the park is also becoming a problem in the recent years.  

Executive Officer of Khaptad Tourism Development Committee Yamraj Kunwar says the park needs to solve the issue of overgrazing to protect the biodiversity.

“They should come up with a solution at once. The people in the buffer zone should also take the matter seriously,” he said.

Published: 17-05-2016 08:19

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